The Ninjabot

Citizens of Earth Review: Leading In The Polls

Posted on January 20, 2015 at 12:00 am by Victor Chaves

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Citizens of Earth will catch you off-guard. I did not expect there to be a multi-layered RPG battle system, or an affable art style, and a charming narrative in this game, but there is. Published by Atlus and developed by Eden Industries, Citizens of Earth is a game heavily influenced by the classic Earthbound from back in the SNES days that plays up all the best parts of that genre. It is truly a wacky ride.

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 A Smile That Will Light Up The Night

Citizens of Earth stars the new Vice President of Earth, a Mitt Romney-looking fellow with an indestructible smile who after winning the election, goes on an adventure meeting citizens who help him fight weird creatures. By “weird” I mean coffee bean mutants, bears made of honey, deer with telephone antlers, and demon elevators. The plot continues to be “weird” as all the while it’s giving you clues on why and how all this insanity is occurring, and it’s just your first day.

Fighting these odd enemies are done in proximity, as the Vice President recruits citizens he meets in order to act as his representative in turn-based fighting (totaling to 40 different citizens). The bread and butter of the game involves these denizens of everyday life as each of them fulfill different roles in the game both in and out of fighting. Out of fighting, each citizen can do something special, like the Vice President’s brother works for FedUps and can order items for you, or the school mascot can change the difficulty of the game and add rewards accordingly, and the police officer can unlock the ability to fight criminals as mini-bosses. The amount of capabilities given to this cast is astounding, and makes for a surprise each time you discover a new person.

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Members of the “Not-So-Secret” Service

When it gets to brawling, each citizen has their own way of attacking; I can easily say that no two citizens are alike in regards to what combat capabilities they have. Some concentrate on confusion like “Conspiracy Guy”, your Mom can hug another citizen to heal them both, and the School Mascot can spend energy to increase experience earned at the end of the battle. Everyone levels up and earns even more abilities that make them unique. Experiment with these citizens, as they all have different ways to modify battles and how they unfold.

The Vice President himself, well, is at first not a very likable character. He comes off as naive and uninteresting, seemingly blind to anything other than making sure someone votes for him in any election he ever enters. What blindsided me are the times that the game makes him to be a sympathetic character, and underneath that steel-aligned smile is a character that is actually extremely empathetic. There are several clues throughout the game that point to this; such as when the psychologist is recruited, the Vice President can have his dreams psychoanalyzed which involves a dream sequence and seeing friends and family airing their annoyances while the Vice President learns of his failings. The sequence is optional, but it’s small things like this that really make all the difference.

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Musically I consider Citizens of Earth to be a bit so-so. There isn’t anything I found catchy, but nothing that ever made me want to mute the game. A lot of the game is fully-voiced, at least on the VP’s side, and it kept me engrossed fairly well. I especially liked the wheelchair girl who collected citizen cards, she was well-written and hilariously acted.

The People And Enemies Are Unforgettable

What I find wrestling and mulling over the most is the art, as there are several ways the game succeeds in art direction, yet fails as well. The positives are the monsters and character designs; from mosquitoes in bubbles to eagles with human hair and facial features, to cat-ladies and exterminators, this game goes all out in putting style in it’s enemies and characters. There is a pilot that has a permanent gust of wind in her hair, a bartender with arm tattoos, ear gauges, and a beard, and a bodybuilder who sounds a lot like a character from the Venture Bros; the list goes on and on and seemingly never stops in having cooler and cooler characters. What I especially loved was how many females were not in gender-typecast roles like Police Officer, Fire Woman, Exterminator, Pilot, not to mention all with different colors as well as various ages. One of the citizens was even pregnant, and that is something that is extremely rare in video games.

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As great as character and monster designs are, the environments are extremely uninteresting, specifically the over world. You start to notice buildings have the same blocky nature with some different colors or designs, and cars all look the same. The smaller locations like the Capitol building or the gym are designed well-enough, but with how exemplary monsters and characters are designed, you can’t help but feel bored walking around. In a world full of life with personality, it seems that all non-life is really ho-hum.

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Final Thoughts

I think the reason why I wasn’t initially interested in Citizens of Earth was because the screen shots and videos never did it justice. The real meat of the game is exploring the capabilities of the citizens you meet, figuring out how to recruit them, and eventually growing to become a well-respected Vice President. This is the little game that could, and by all means it did. If you want a solid RPG, charming story, and adorable characters and designs, Citizens of Earth is exactly what you need.

Presentation: 8

Gameplay: 9

Replay: 8

LEGACY SCORE: 8.3

Geek Legacy’s review scores are on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest possible score.

This review was based on a pre-release copy via Steam provided by Atlus. The game is available on Steam, Playstation 4, Playstation Vita, Nintendo Wii U, & Nintendo 3DS.

Follow Victor on Twitter @fake_brasilian to see him get 1 Rupee per Amiibo in Hyrule Warriors.

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